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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

November 24, 2009 at 9:33 AM

No more “New Moon”; instead, how Tom Ford made ends meet in “A Single Man”

OK, no more “New Moon” talk for a while; it seems to be making a few of us a little cranky. And while that might suit the topic — has there ever been a crankier heroine than Kristin Stewart’s Bella? is anyone other than me getting cranky as they try to figure out where Jacob’s shorts go when he turns into a wolf? — I’d rather keep things moving along here at Popcorn & Prejudice, where we’ve given this movie quite enough space. So, onward. As I browse the news this morning, I found myself fascinated by the headline “Chef Paula Deen accidentally hit by charity ham” and had to read to find out in that Ms. Deen is quite all right, and that I envy the AP writer who got to use the phrase “errant swine.” (Did anyone else hear Ms. Deen’s appearance on the NPR show “Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me” a while ago? It left me laughing hysterically and longing to try a bacon-wrapped deep-fried macaroni and cheese ball, or a Krispy Kreme doughnut burger. Here’s the link to the interview. No, this has absolutely nothing to do with movies, but some smart person should put her in one — the lady’s very, very funny. Listen to it; you’ll feel better.)
But I digress. There’s a good read this morning in the Hollywood Reporter, in which we can learn how a few filmmakers this season have been dealing with tight budgets (haven’t we all?). Lee Daniels had to abandon plans for an animated sequence in “Precious” for lack of funds, creating the film’s compelling fantasy sequences instead. Jim Sheridan, for “Brothers” (opening here Dec. 4) had to shoot war scenes in New Mexico instead of Afghanistan, and had to coax Tobey Maguire to forego Christmas feasting in order to lose weight in a hurry — there wasn’t time to suspend production while he dropped 20 pounds. Tom Hooper paid extras with fish and chips and used inflatable dummies to beef up the crowd in the football-stadium scenes in “<a href="“>The Damned United.” And Tom Ford, who in his spare time is a well-known fashion designer, used furniture from his own house to create his main character’s posh 1962 home in “A Single Man” (opening Dec. 25). And he rewrote one scene to take place in a near-empty parking lot rather than on a highway, thus eliminating the need for street closures and multiple vintage cars.
But not everyone adapts easily to budget constraints. Mira Nair, according to this story, threatened a hunger strike when she was told she couldn’t fly a replica of Amelia Earhart’s plane from Canada to Africa in “Amelia.” (She won the argument, but was given strict time constraints.) Maybe she should have held out for a better screenplay instead.

A crowd, just post fish-and-chips? Michael Sheen in “The Damned United” (which is, by the way, a very fine movie). Photo courtesy Sony Pictures Classics

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